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Canada Takes Another Step Forward In Renewable Fuels Policy

Country is second largest U.S. ethanol importer, buying 352M gallons last year


Canada continued its push toward carbon reductions and meeting its Paris Agreement commitments in 2017 when the country’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change started developing the Clean Fuel Standard.

This federal policy move has encouraged individual provinces to develop in many cases even more ambitious GHG reduction goals that create a pathway for increased renewable fuel use, specifically ethanol. For example, Ontario has announced its intent to move to a 10% ethanol fuel blend by 2020 and increase renewable fuel content to 15% by 2025.

“Canada is setting an example globally by demonstrating the value that higher-level blends of ethanol hold for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Brian Healy, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) manager of ethanol export market development who leads the Council’s work on ethanol in Canada. “Other countries should take note if they are serious about reducing carbon intensity across their transport sectors and their economies as a whole.”

More than 60 countries currently have ethanol policies -– a number that is expanding as countries seek to capture the environmental, human health and economic benefits of greater ethanol use.

Most recently in Canada, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and its ethanol industry partners Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) jointly submitted comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) supporting its goal of reducing the carbon intensity of Canada’s fuel stream through the Clean Fuel Standard. The comments offered recommendations on how renewable fuels like ethanol can help reach the ECCC Regulatory Design Paper’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The comments suggested expanding the current minimum blending requirement for biofuels from 5% to 10% nationwide. They also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the renewable fuels regulations put in place focus on promoting economic growth and securing a pathway to meeting Canada’s climate goals. These include improving upstream fossil fuel protocols on exports, limiting abuse of compliance flexibility and allowing public comment and review of carbon intensity models.

“Our comments in Canada are consistent with our message globally. E10 – a 10% ethanol blend – is just the starting point for countries developing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It can be a beneficial component as countries look to decarbonize sectors of the economy beyond transportation,” Healy says.

Supported by market access provided through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the future U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an enforced renewable fuels policy, and geographic ties, Canada is the second largest U.S. ethanol importer, buying 352 million gallons in MY2017/2018.

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